“People always want Neymar, but at times things don’t happen the way you want,” Tite said. “We feel sorry that Neymar can’t be here, but we have other options. I’m talking about [Philippe] Coutinho, he is a player that can play in that role and I believe in his quality.”
Coutinho, 29, has not featured for Brazil since October 2020, but is expected to play against Ecuador in place of Lucas Paqueta, who is suspended.
Tite described the experienced midfielder as “an important player” for the national team and believes he is recovering “his best level.”
“From a social and human standpoint, I know how much time he has invested and the challenges he has faced to recover from injury,” Tite said.
The three already started in the goalless draw against Argentina in November.
“Yes, we will maintain the attacking trio,” Tite said. “With Vinicius, Raphinha and Cunha, we want to see that continuity.”
Despite his team having already qualified for the World Cup, Tite wants strong performances from Brazil.
“I thought the emotions and feelings would be lighter but no,” he said. “We have the same emotions and anxieties. We want to give the players the chance to do their best, to be strategically prepared for the game. I want to test players in the upcoming qualifiers. I still have the same pressure.”